ROSE Hill has the highest child poverty rate in Oxford.

The latest council figures show 48 per cent of its children live below the poverty line.

Rose Hill Primary School associate governor Fran Gardner said: “Children growing up five miles away in North Oxford or Headington will live eight or ten years longer.”

To make life better for some of the most deprived children in Oxford, Mrs Gardner helps run Rose Hill Junior Youth Club, at Rose Hill Community Centre, The Oval.

From its creation just three years ago, the club now takes care of 80 children from six to 11 at two after-school clubs each week.

It has been awarded £5,544 from Oxford City council’s Social Inclusion Fund to employ more youth workers so it can take on more children.

The club employs seven part-time play workers and four volunteers a day, and the grant means it can employ three play workers for six months each.

Mrs Gardner said: “These are people whose parents work on minimum wage and are really struggling.”

The club doubled its weekly sessions to two, taking its wage bill from £12,000 to £25,000 a year.

The original bill was just reachable with the club’s £10,000-a-year National Lottery funding.

Now Ms Gardner said she writes funding applications “all the time”.

Mrs Gardner said: “This is quite a substantial sum for us. We are incredibly grateful to the city council for recognising the work we do.”

Workers strive to include all children, including those with autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), in sports, arts and crafts and drama classes at Pegasus Theatre, Magdalen Road.

During the summer, while after-school club staff take a holiday, play leader Jamie Bourton has been taking children on day trips. Yesterday, he took some of the children out for the day in the city centre.

Mr Bourton, 26, who lives in Greater Leys but grew up in Rose Hill, said: “This club is a lifeline for people on the estate.

“There is nowhere that age range can go and play – just providing somewhere for them to play is an achievement.

“This money will really help push it forward to the next step.”

The club will hold an activities afternoon and registration fair for interested parents on Thursday, September 11 from 3.30pm to 5pm.

Organisations applied to the city council for up to £7,000 to support work that benefits residents who are excluded or disadvantaged through low income or social isolation, age, disability, race, sexuality or gender.

City councillor Christine Simm said: “We are very pleased to be able to make this funding available to the many valuable organisations in the city who do such important work with some of our most vulnerable residents.

“The quality of applications was very high and we were pleased to see 25 per cent of applications came from diverse community groups across Oxford.”

Oxford City Council’s Social Inclusion Programme was launched in June 2013. In 2013/ 14, a total 16 organisations were awarded grants and more than 600 children and adults benefited from the funding.

Windfall for project turning mementos to art.


The Rev Jane Sherwood, at St Luke’s Church in South Oxford, where a new council grant will fund an art project for local pensioners.

ST LUKE’S Church in South Oxford will use £2,325 for a unique art project.

The Canning Crescent church will invite local pensioners to bring a beloved souvenir from home and create a scrapbook of art around it.

Oxford art therapist and artist Sonia Boue created the Art-icles scheme as a way for St Luke’s to bring more people in from the local community.

The Rev Jane Sherwood said: “People would be asked to bring something of significance with them.

“It is a way of helping them record personal history and give worth to their personal experience.”

She added: “We have been very lucky to get the funding.

“We researched a lot of pots of money for different groups and this was perfect for this project.”

The church will pilot the Art-icles project with ten to 15 “guinea pig” pensioners on the first three Friday mornings in October. It hopes to run the full course in January.

The Rev Sherwood said the money would pay for materials, refreshments and the artist’s time.

The church is hoping that at the end of the course, the senior artists will have an opportunity to exhibit their creations somewhere in the city.

'We have been struggling financially and every little helps.'


Club members, back row from left, Patricia Moss, Gwen Hayle, Sheila Gellatly and Rose Dixon with, front from left, Shirley McCready and Audrey Skeats.

EVERY two weeks, Cutteslowe’s wisest residents get together to have fun.

For its 30 members, the Cutteslowe Community Association Seniors Group is the best way to get to know everyone else in their community.

In a recent project, seniors were paired up with children from Cutteslowe Primary School to tell them what it was like growing up around the time of the Second World War.

Thanks to a £2,918 grant from the council’s fund, the club will be able to continue running without worrying about funding until March at least.

Trustee Shirley McCready said: “We have been struggling financially and every bit of money we get helps.”

On the second Friday of each month, the club holds a community lunch at the Wren Road community centre, with an invited guest speaker.

On the fourth Friday, the club goes out on day trips.

City councillor Jean Fooks, who is involved with the group, said: “This funding will allow us to keep the club going.

“It is a very-much valued gathering for the elderly people in the area, so it is brilliant news.”

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